UAE’s legacy at the Memory of the Nation Pavilion at the Sheikh Zayed Festival

UAE’s legacy at the Memory of the Nation Pavilion at the Sheikh Zayed Festival


Tickets to Emirates Airline Festival of Literature available from tomorrow

Students at the previous edition of Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai last year.
Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Here’s good news for book lovers and aspiring authors. Tickets for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will go on sale from tomorrow (January 14) at 12pm, organisers announced on Wednesday.

The region’s premier literary event will feature, among others, Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, Booker nominees Avni Doshi (‘Burnt Sugar’) and Oyinkan Braithwaite (‘My Sister the Serial Killer’). Programme highlights also include internationally acclaimed authors Elif Shafak, Amin Maalouf and Lemn Sissay.

There will also be live appearances and virtual sessions across three weekends at three venues: Jameel Arts Centre (January 29-30), InterContinental Dubai Festival City (February 4-6) and Alserkal Avenue (February 12-13).

Fewer tickets for social distancing

According to the organisers, there will be fewer tickets available due to social distancing. So early booking is recommended. Tickets will be required for each event, including the free sessions, to ensure visitor number restrictions are adhered to. Several sessions will also be livestreamed for those who are unable to attend or who are unable to buy tickets. “The Festival will be fully compliant with all COVID-19 prevention regulations and guidelines from Dubai Health Authority, including social distancing measures across all three venues and mandatory wearing of masks,” organisers noted.

More authors

Additions to the names already announced include avant-garde Irma Boom who will be appearing at Jameel Arts Centre. Dubbed as ‘The Queen of Books’, Boom’s bold experimental approach in creating more than 300 titles resulted in her becoming the youngest recipient of the Gutenberg Prize, with a selection of her books held in the permanent collection at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

How literature contributes to uncovering society’s unspoken rules is the topic for Kuwaiti writer Abdullah Al Busais’ session. He is known for his exploration of the human psyche in his novels, ‘The Taste of the Wolf’ and ‘K for Killer, S for Saeed’, which both delve into the political and cultural attitudes that shaped the social identity of Kuwait.

Would-be writers won’t want to miss the workshop ‘The Art of the Plot Twist’ with award-winning crime-writer Clare Mackintosh while Taleb Alrefai, the acclaimed Kuwaiti author, will also be featured on a panel along with Amin Maalouf. The speakers will be examining how to tackle difficult topics in fiction. Award-winning Palestinian writer, performer and advocate Dana Dajani will have a spoken-word, one-woman show.

Emirati writer

Also in attendance will be Sultan Al Ameemi, the Emirati author of more than a dozen books, including short story collections, novels and works of non-fiction. Many sessions will be inspired by the 2021 Festival theme, ‘Change the Story’, capturing the spirit of the current times through family fun, enlightening and entertaining talks, fresh ideas and dynamic performances centred on books, art, science, current affairs, film and food.

Ticket prices

Tickets for adult sessions start at Dh60, Dh40 for children’s sessions, and Dh100 for a digital pass to watch live-streamed sessions. A minimum of ten top sessions will be streamed live from the big festival weekend at the InterContinental Dubai Festival City.

More details are available on the Emirates LitFest website.


Al Ain Film Festival announces 378 movies at third edition

Al Ain Film Fetsival
Image Credit: Supplied

With events season back in full swing, the Al Ain Film Festival has announced a roster of 378 movies that will feature at this year’s event, which will run from January 23 until 27.

The third edition of the event will operate under the theme of ‘Future of Cinema’, with an initiative to support local and Gulf filmmakers by implementing new initiatives, various programmes, shows and agreements to promote talents in the region.

This year’s opening film is ‘You Will Die At 20’, which is Sudan’s official entry to the Oscars.

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You Will Die At 20
Image Credit: AP

According to organisers, the exceptional circumstances imposed by the pandemic and the repercussions of COVID-19 on the world have not prevented filmmakers from participating with more than 378 films sent as entries.

From fiction and documentary, long and short, films across genres will compete with each other for prizes in the official competitions: the Falcon Emriati Film, the Falcon Gulf Feature Film, the Falcon Gulf Feature Short Film, the Falcon Student Films, the Falcon Resident Films, and the special competition of the third Edition of the festival ‘Filming in The Time of Corona’.

Europe in focus

Amer Salmeen Al Marri, Founder and Director General of the Festival, revealed a special segment of the festival will focus on European films that have met with success at international film festivals. Through its summer programme, held on weekends, the festival will continue to screen a group of European films, with each week devoted to a specific country, in addition to organising workshops by filmmakers.

Fareed Ramadhan Award

This year, the ‘Fareed Ramadhan’ award for the best screenplay for a Gulf feature film, is one of the new initiatives launched this year, which is intended to encourage scriptwriters and their works, as well as honour the spirit of the late Bahraini writer and screenwriter, Fareed Ramadhan, who had a prominent presence in the First and the Second Editions of the Festival.

Abu Dhabi Festival works

In a collaborative effort with the Abu Dhabi Festival, the organisers also announced a new initiative at this year’s event, calling it the ‘Abu Dhabi Festival Unproduced Screenplay’.

Targeting young Emirati scriptwriters, the competition aims to create a new generation of talent that can enrich local content with fresh unique topics presented to cinema. Three prizes have been allocated to this purpose: best three screenplays (short film), at a value of Dh20,000. Winners will be announced in June 2021 after a selection processes that will be conducted by a special jury for this competition, consisting of a group of Arab filmmakers and scriptwriters.

Artist achievements

A new edition to the festival and a part of ‘Honouring Artists’ Achievements’ programme, will see a group of art professionals who will be honoured, for their contribution to the world of film. These include Sheikha Alyazia Bint Nahyan, Emirati director Nujoom Al-Ghanem, and the late Bahraini writer and screenwriter Fareed Ramadhan.

Competitions and surprises

Winners will be announced who participated in the competition, ‘Filming in the Time of Corona’. The competition gave filmmakers an opportunity to benefit from the quarantine by filming a short film, with a duration of 3 to 15 minutes, based on day in the life in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The competition that was announced in the summer of 2020 with two awards allocated: the first for the best film and the second for the best idea.


Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai to see new format under COVID-19 precautions

There will be no book signing events, with pre-signed copies of books instead available for purchase.
Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: For the first time, the forthcoming annual Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will have a mix of virtual and in-person sessions, fewer seats and multiple locations because of the COVID-19 pandemic, organisers said on Tuesday.

There will be no book signing events, with pre-signed copies of books instead available for purchase. Also, the award ceremonies will not be held at the event, such as the education awards, which will be delayed till March, the Month of Reading. Moreover, there could be changes to which authors will physically attend the event because of the “fluid situation” regarding flights, a virtual media briefing heard on Tuesday. Another change will see visitors having to select available seats online when buying tickets, like when choosing seats on the cashier’s screen at the cinema.

There will be temperature checks at the entrance, visitors will have to correctly wear masks over the mouth and nose, sit in their numbered seats and maintain social distance at all times. Rooms hosting the sessions will be sanitised between each session.

Event locations and dates

The format changes and safety precautions were announced during a reveal of the author line up for the “lit fest” on Tuesday. To prevent crowding, the latest edition will be held over three weekends at three locations in Dubai: January 29 to 30 at Art Jameel, February 4 to 6 at InterContinental Dubai (the regular main venue), and February 12 to 13 at Alserkal Avenue. Some activities and exhibitions will run throughout the lit fest, which is sponsored by Emirates Airlines and organised by Emirates Literature Foundation.

Ticket prices

Tickets will start from Dh40 for the children’s sessions and Dh60 for the adults’ sessions. There will be other prices for tickets for special events, workshops and tiered seating. There is also an option for a “virtual ticket” priced Dh100 that allows access to all virtual sessions, which will be at least 10 in number. All tickets will be available for purchase online at the lit fest’s website, starting from around mid-January. Members of ‘Foundation Friends’ will have a 24-hour advance window to buy the tickets and book priority seating, as well as a two-year membership instead of one year as a special promotion.

Author line-up

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English book authors at the event include Thomas Erikson.
Image Credit: Supplied

In the latest edition, around 90 authors are taking part. Some of the English book authors include Malala Yousafzai, Thomas Erikson, Lemn Sissay, Ali Sparkes, Annabel Kantaria, Ben Bailey Smith, and Mimi Nicklin. It was not immediately clear which ones will end up participating in-person, with a clearer picture emerging when the tickets go on sale, but the event will be “primarily a physical festival”. However, even if an author is speaking through a virtual platform, his or her session or panel discussion will be shown live on screen at the Dubai lit fest premise with a moderator physically present on stage.

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In the latest edition of Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, around 90 authors are taking part.
Image Credit: Supplied

Some of the Emirati authors and speakers include Zayed Al Marzooqi, Dr Afra Atiq, Afra Mahmood, Alia Al Shamsi, Amal Al Sahlawi, Ameera BuKadra, Dr Habib Al Mulla, Hamad Al Hammadi, and Major General Mohammad Ahmad Al Marri.

‘Much-needed escapism’

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On Tuesday, a virtual briefing was done by festival director Ahlam Bolooki.
Image Credit: Supplied

On Tuesday, addressing the virtual briefing, festival director Ahlam Bolooki said: “We can’t wait to bring together authors with readers once more in a safe environment. Whether you turn to books for the science to help you understand, for the stories to help you make sense of things, or simply for some much-needed escapism, books and stories have never been more important… We are determined to have a safe and incredible festival in a new format.”

Bolooki added that she was “delighted with the response that we have had from authors from around the world” for participating this edition, even though invites had to be sent later than usual and despite the uncertainties because of the pandemic.


A Moncton Brewery Festival in February

Greater Moncton will have its first local brewery festival from February 22-27. Tide & Boar restaurant owner Chad Steeves created the event with his friend Christian Moger.

“It’s a great way to get people interested in craft beer through fun events,” says the entrepreneur. It seemed opportune this year, because it’s hard to get consumers out because of COVID-19. “

The Moncton Craft Beer Week website already provides information on several activities.

For example, the Tide & Boar will host the Extreme Home Brew Competition on February 22. Its jury will select a beer from an amateur, to be brewed by Tire Shack Brewing and then served in several bars.

The curious will also be able to be guided in breweries on February 27, between which they will be able to move for free by bus from 11 am to 5 pm.

Mr. Steeves notes that he will make this event annual if its first edition is successful. He hopes that will be the case.

“This type of festival exists in other cities all over the world. Halifax and Fredericton are each hosting their own. This is something that I have wanted to organize for a while, ”he says.

For the entrepreneur, whose establishment has been brewing beer for four years, this is the next logical step in the development of the brewing sector in Greater Moncton.

I opened Tide & Boar ten years ago. There were really few breweries at the time (Acadie Broue, Pump House). We were struggling to have a selection of craft beers on tap, he recalls. Now there are so many breweries! And that’s great because beer tastes better when it’s cold. “

Holly Whale, Flying Boats, Cavok, Tire Shack, O’Creek, Scow, Gahan House Hub City, Chockpish for example are among the breweries that have opened in Greater Moncton recently, according to him.

National trend

“People realized they could start a business with it,” Steeves says. Customers want more flavor in their beer. And it’s fun to make a unique one, drink it and sell it. “

This trend can be seen nationally and in many other countries.

In Canada, the number of breweries increased from 10 to 640 between 1985 and 2015, according to an article in the journal Economic Perspectives on Craft Beer. From 2000 to 2010, the sale of beer there also increased tenfold, but the vast majority of producers are small according to the 2017 study.

“Craft beer, and by extension microbreweries, individually become poles of social gathering, economic revitalization and identity affirmation”, also notes Iannick Francoeur in his master’s thesis at Laval University (Quebec).


Watch: Dubai’s Hatta abuzz with Honey Festival amid COVID-19

Visitors take a look at the various kinds of honey at the Hatta Honey Festival on Sunday.
Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Dubai’s Hatta is once again abuzz with the annual Honey Festival kicking off amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the comprehensive Hatta Development Plan launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the 5th Hatta Honey Festival began at Hatta Hall on Sunday. The weeklong festival will last until January 2, 2021.

Various activities of the festival provide an opportunity for the public to learn about the types of honey, and ways to distinguish between them, said Dubai Municipality, which organises the annual event. The products on display this time include a variety of honey such as Sidr, Shoukah, Talh, Samr, Salam, Dhahi, Qathad, Saifi, Sehah, Barseem, Rabeai and Hamadhiyath.

The different types of honey can be distinguished by the degree of their colour and smell, determined by the plant source from which honey is taken. Some types of honey are rare, as they are extracted from trees that grow in limited areas, and bloom once a year.

The different types of honey can be distinguished by the degree of their colour and smell, determined by the plant source from which honey is taken.
Image Credit: Supplied

The Hatta Honey Festival complements the rest of the efforts and initiatives of Dubai Municipality to improve the level of its services in Hatta, given the historical and heritage importance of this region, the civic body said. It also contributes to strengthening Hatta’s position as a tourist destination by leveraging the natural resources of the region. The Festival also bolsters the municipality’s contribution in supporting local industries, and providing appropriate marketing opportunities for them.

Economic benefit

It also aims to expand the circle of economic benefit to the people of Hatta, and help them unleash their full potential, and employ them in an effective manner in promoting the development of the region. The festival will include receiving honey test samples from the public to ensure their quality.

The Hatta Honey Festival activities are open to the public at Hatta Hall, from 9am to 10pm. It is being organised with COVID-19 safety protocols in place.

Entertainment Canada

Film Festival: several Quebecers awarded in Whistler

Quebec cinema shone on the top 20e edition of the Whistler Film Festival in British Columbia.

Several works and actors appear on the prize list, unveiled on Sunday, starting with Sophie Dupuis, crowned best director of the competition thanks to her new feature film, Underground.

This foray into the Abitibi mines also received an honorable mention for his cinematography, a category where it was Quebecer Fred Gervais-Dupuis who received top honors for his work in the low-budget film. The marina.

The main actor of The marina, Rémi Goulet, for his part also obtained an honorable mention in the category of interpretation which was won by Rémy Girard, in You will remember me.

Finally, Like a comet, Ariane Louis-Seize, was named best Canadian short film while in the category of best film directed by a woman, The goddess of fire flies, by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, received an honorable mention.


Dubai Shopping Festival to propel UAE’s domestic toursim sector

The 26th edition of Dubai Shopping Festival, which will run until January 30, will be the biggest ever.
Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The launch of the current edition of the iconic Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) on December 17 is expected to provide an impetus to Dubai’s domestic tourism sector, which continues to be the mainstay of the city’s tourism economy in the light of the challenges faced by the global travel industry.

The latest edition of DSF will take the lead in increasing demand for domestic tourism supported by many other events that will be held during the ongoing winter season, in line with the newly-launched UAE domestic tourism strategy, unveiled by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Year after year, DSF has lived up to its promise of rolling out the most exciting activities for the whole family, bringing together people from diverse cultural backgrounds and nationalities for a grand celebration that is a reflection of the tolerance, multiculturalism and community bonding that have been the hallmarks of Dubai and the UAE.

As Dubai ramps up efforts to woo UAE residents to enjoy the city’s diverse offerings, stakeholders and partners have extended their full cooperation. Hotels and resorts have responded to the improving market conditions by offering a range of incentives to UAE residents, including attractive deals on staycations, F&B discounts for in-house guests, free upgrades and booking flexibility, in parallel with the promotions running across the tourism ecosystem, including the retail, entertainment and events sectors.

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The period from May to October 2020 has seen a significant growth in room nights sold to domestic visitors — from 2.74 million in 2019 to 5.68 million in 2020.
Image Credit: Supplied

The period from May to October 2020 has seen a significant growth in room nights sold to domestic visitors — from 2.74 million in 2019 to 5.68 million in 2020 — marking an astounding increase of 107 per cent year on year. As a percentage of room nights sold, domestic room nights amounted to 77.7 per cent, compared to 18.9 per cent last year, an impressive growth of 58.8 percentage points. During these six months, Dubai’s domestic tourism sector was largely driven by Emiratis (40 per cent), visitors from India (11 per cent), Philippines (7 per cent), Egypt (5 per cent) and the United Kingdom (3 per cent).

Issam Kazim, chief executive officer of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) said: “Inspired by the guidance and various initiatives of our visionary leadership, the domestic tourism sector played a pivotal role in driving the city’s tourism economy in 2020. As we head into 2021, we see that continuing to be the case, even as international visitations maintain a steady growth ever since the city was reopened in July to welcome global travellers. While our tourism sector has consistently delivered great value to international travellers, the pandemic brought to the forefront the huge potential that exists in the domestic tourism sector and the need to provide many more UAE residents the opportunity to enjoy the city’s world-renowned destination proposition and experiences. As one of the first few cities in the world to restart the events sector, Dubai is committed to leveraging its festivals and events such as the Dubai Shopping Festival to enhance the domestic tourism market.”

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Festivals and events including Dubai Summer Surprises, the Back to School campaign, the Dubai Home Festival and the Dubai Fitness Challenge have all helped boost Dubai’s domestic travel market this year.
Image Credit: Supplied

Festivals and events including Dubai Summer Surprises, the Back to School campaign, the Dubai Home Festival and the Dubai Fitness Challenge have all helped boost Dubai’s domestic travel market this year. The 26th edition of Dubai Shopping Festival, which will run until January 30, will be the biggest ever, with live concerts, raffles, events and unbeatable retail experiences, reinforcing the fact that Dubai is open and has regained its vibrancy as a unique destination offering multiple experiences spanning many leisure propositions — from shopping to heritage, family-oriented attractions to entertainment, outdoor adventures to beach activities, from gastronomy to luxury.

Residents and visitors are able to experience the diversity of Dubai’s unique offerings, with wide-ranging health and safety measures at all points of customer interaction. Dubai Tourism also launched the ‘DUBAI ASSURED’ stamp in collaboration with the Department of Economic Development and Dubai Municipality to certify and recognise hotels and retail establishments, F&B outlets and attractions that have implemented all public health protocols. Dubai’s commitment to maintaining the highest standards of hygiene and safety received a strong endorsement from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), which accorded the city a ‘Safe Travels’ stamp.

Entertainment Canada

2020 edition of the Toboggan festival: the beauty of Quebec in the foreground

Marie-Mai, two DJs and a promising rapper will be the stars of the Toboggan festival, which will highlight the landscapes of the Quebec City region in a second edition that will take place online, because of the coronavirus, from December 28 to 31.

• Read also: The guest list for “Everyone together” unveiled

In postcard settings, performances by Montreal DJ Apashe, in the Jacques-Cartier Valley (28), rapper Zach Zoya, on a boat sailing on the St. Lawrence River (29), by Marie-Mai, at the top of Mont Tourbillon (30) and British Columbian DJ Felix Cartal, on the 31st, at Château Frontenac, will be available from 7 p.m., free of charge, from December 28 to 31.

Unable to accommodate revelers at Place George V, as last year, Toboggan will therefore showcase the beauties of the region, with the financial support of the City of Quebec.

“It will help us sell Quebec and the region. It will give us iconic images, ”Mayor Régis Labeaume said during a press conference on Thursday afternoon.

Film productions

The emphasis will indeed be on the quality of the images. 3E’s programmer Louis Bellavance said the organization wanted cinematic-quality productions.

“We thought we were going to bring in some extremely interesting visual elements so that these clips could live by both the visual and the artist’s performance.”

The performances, which will not exceed thirty minutes each, will be available online for one year.

Jammu and Kashmir The Buzz

With ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’ theme, 4th Military Literature Festival starts

Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, December 17

The fourth edition of the Military Literature Festival (MLF) will kick-start on Friday with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh delivering the inaugural speech virtually.

Prominent speakers like Governor of Punjab, VP Singh Badnore, former Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, NN Vohra, Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh and General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lt Gen RP Singh will also address the event.

Formally launching the festival, here, on Thursday, Lt Gen TS Shergill (retd), Senior Advisor to the Punjab Chief Minister said, that the theme of the festival this year is “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan” as both are motivational figures for the society.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the festival is conducted virtually.

Lt Gen Shergill said, that the panel discussions and other events can be streamed live through popular social media platforms for a global audience.

Already, a few events held as a prelude to the festival has witnessed over 16 lakh views online.

A total of 12-panel discussions by experts will be held over the three-day event. This is focused on contemporary strategic and geo-political topics.

The opening day would focus on issues like Sabre Rattling in Ladakh, Chinese Air Power Capabilities and the Deep States in India and Pakistan.

A separate session on “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan” would be organised to discuss the current issues—related to the solider and the farmer— which will include the prominent political leaders from the region.

Other topics like Emerging Indo-Pacific Naval Alliance, Self Reliance Towards Defence Preparedness and Military Leadership would be part of the discussions. This is in addition to the discussion on books and highlights on the newly inducted Rafale Fighter Aircraft, Siachen operations and legacy of the Gurkha soldier.

The Headquarters Western Command would present a curtain-raiser on the 1971 Indo-Pak war.

Former service chiefs, Gen VP Malik, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, Admiral Arun Prakash, Admiral Sunil Lanba and Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, Members of Parliament Shashi Tharoor, Manish Tiwari, Rakesh Sinha, Mahua Moitra and Rajeev Chandrashekhar, Ram Madhav, Lt Gen DS Hoods, Lt Gen SS Mehta, Vivek Katju, Kanwal Sibal, Shyam Saran, Dr C Rajamohan, Gul Panag, Mona Ambegaonkar, David Scott, Dr Christine Fair and Andrew Erikson are among the few speakers at the event.

The literature festival is an annual affair conducted by the Punjab Government and the Western Command to honour and commemorate the legendary, brave, and sacrifices of the Indian soldiers.

This is also to bring a common platform for experts to deliberate on the contemporary military, security, and geo-political issues.

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